In one of the most hilarious viral videos of the past few weeks, Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch was cast in an avant-garde sci-fi movie. Not just avant-garde in the sense that the film plays with typical notions of narrative and dialogue, but also in the sense that the script was written entirely by artificial intelligence.
Yes, Sunspring was written by Benjamin, a system-on-chip computer. Benjamin wrote the script after being fed the screenplays of numerous famous science fiction movies, as well as some brief instructions regarding stage direction and the opening line, which was also the “plot.” The resulting story is almost impossible to follow, with nonsensical lines that generally hint at what the plot should be, but don’t quite take you there. This may sound like the makings of something terrible, but thanks to the fantastic acting and unintentional hilarity of the dialogue, the 7 minute short film was thoroughly entertaining.
But it also illustrated a key issue with modern technology: machines can process a lot of information, but, for the most part, still lack the ability to output information in the clearest possible manner. While this is only one example, there are a myriad of other instances of amazingly powerful machines that still need help communicating to their users.
As AI becomes more complex, we will see more and more smart machines with the capabilities of the Amazon Echo or Google Assistant. But for right now, the human touch is still needed to get the most out of your machines. By using the smart machines to process information and human creativity to analyze and communicate the results, you can deliver a premium experience to your intended audience, whether that be customers, movie goers, followers, etc.
If you are familiar with Middleditch’s career, you’ll know that he is the lead character, Richard Hendricks, in HBO’s Silicon Valley. In one of the show’s earliest episodes, Hendricks is trying to explain his company, Pied Piper, to the forward-thinking venture capitalist Peter Gregory. Gregory tells Hendricks that his compression algorithm is the “product of the company,” but “what I’m asking about is the company itself. Who are they? What do they do?” This interchange may serve as Hendricks’ first lesson as being prepared as the CEO of a company, but it also highlights the problems that many companies involving new technology can encounter: they get so caught up in the potential power of the technology, that they forget that it takes people to operate, manage, and fine-tune it. Your tech capabilities are your offerings, but the human element is what maximizes those offerings and what gives your company its personality.
As machines learn to communicate with each other, new features of AI will emerge at an amazing rate. But to truly unlock the potential advantages of this information, executives must realize that humans hold the key.
Humans. Machines. You. Get them all working together today.